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Eukaryota : Metazoa : Bilateria : Deuterostomia : Vertebrata : Tetrapoda : Diapsida : Archosauria : Dinosauria : Theropoda


The Tetanurae are a large, diverse group of theropod dinosaurs, characterized by a few features that most members possess (using the principles of cladistics, we know that those tetanurans that lack these features must have lost them during their evolutionary history). One such feature is an enlarged manus (hand) — especially in the later coelurosaurs. Other typical features present in tetanurans include a loss of the fourth and fifth digits in the manus (hands), and a less flexible tail.

The Tetanurae range from the tiny, meek forms that you may see every day in your backyard pecking at insects or seeds, to the giant terrors that hunted the large herds of other dinosaurs back in the Cretaceous period.

Extinct tetanurans (or tetanurines) include the Spinosauroidea, characterized by their almost crocodile-like skulls, and the Allosauroidea, your "classic" large, bipedal carnivorous dinosaurs like Allosaurus.

The largest group within Tetanurae is the Coelurosauria, undoubtedly the most diverse of all dinosaurs. Of course, we are talking about the group that includes birds among other theropods.

Original page created by John Hutchinson 11/1995; modifications since 2005 by David Smith.